Click here to Register for JARS2017. Deadline for Abstracts is March 3, 2017.

What is the Joint Annual Research Symposium (JARS)?

Tuskegee University is hosting the Eighth Joint Annual Research Symposium (JARS 2017) organized by the Tuskegee University Office of Undergraduate Research.  Please check your schedule to see if you can visit us on Friday, March 17th, 2017.  The meeting will be held in Tompkins Hall located on Tuskegee University’s campus.  The event has combined the 18th Annual HBCU-UP Research Symposium, the 44th Annual Sigma Xi Symposium, and the 7th Annual Minority Access to Research and Careers Symposium into one multidisciplinary event.  This meeting will feature research conducted by guest speakers from various institutions.  In addition, JARS will feature projects completed by Tuskegee University undergraduate and graduate students in STEAM majors, including but not limited to Aerospace Engineering, Agriculture, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Dentistry, Engineering, Integrative Biosciences, Mathematics, Material Science, Psychology, Physics, Veterinary Medicine, English, History & Political Science, and Psychology & Sociology.  The objectives of the conference are to help undergraduate and graduate students enhance their STEAM communication skills and better understand how to prepare for STEAM careers.  Students will have the opportunity to present their research in oral or poster format during the one day event and win awards.  If you are interested, feel free to register or contact Dr. Fan Wu at or 334-727-8362.



JARS 2017 Abstract Submission Guidelines for Oral Presentations and Poster Presentations

Deadline: Friday, March 03, 2017

1. Abstract is formatted with single spacing as a Word document.
2. Abstract is 5 ¼” (13.5 cm) wide and 4 ½” (11.5 cm) high (margins) on an 8.5" x 11" page. Do not put a border around the text area. Do not type abstract in a "text box".
3. The title should be followed first by the authors, and then author affiliations.
4. Designate with an asterisk (use only an asterisk) the person who is presenting at the meeting.
5. Your abstract should be informative, containing: a) a short statement of the study’s specific objective, b) a brief statement of methods, c) a summary of the results, and d) a statement of the conclusions.
6. Abstract is font style Times New Roman, font size 10 or larger. The abstract will be reduced for the “Proceedings”. Font sizes smaller than 10 become unreadable.
7. The title is not underlined, bold, italic, nor entirely in upper case.
8. Italicize only scientific words. Do not italicize the entire title or author names.
9. Submit your abstract via email to
10. Poster boards for poster presentations should be be approximately 4’H by 8’W. The poster should start in the upper left-hand corner; from here the poster should flow from left to right and top to bottom. The title-author(s)-sponsoring institution heading for your poster must be at the top of the board. Use letters, numbers, or arrows to indicate the proper flow to the audience. For the best results, choose one background color for the poster board. To draw the audience, use contrasting colors where appropriate in charts, graphs, and diagrams.


Marsh Mellow, and Dr. Chuck Wagon, Department of Biology, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL 36088.

This research is aimed at understanding the genetic and cellular mechanisms of aging. Our goal is to generate strains of the nematode C. elegans that can be used for 1) predicting the longevity of individual animals, and 2) genetic analysis of mutants extended life span. Previous work has shown that the abc-2 is over expressed in the long-lived def-2 mutant. The def-2 mutation reduces insulin-like signaling and doubles adult life span. To visually monitor activity of the insulin-like signaling pathway, a reporter gene encoding a jellyfish green fluorescent protein (GFP) was fused to abc-2 regulatory sequences for expression. Since the nematode is transparent, each of its 1,000 cells can be seen in the microscope, and cells that express abc-2 can be identified by their green fluorescence. To create a useful reporter strain, it was first necessary to inject the recombinant abc-2::GFP reporter (transgene) into the nematode germ line along with another marker gene (rol-6) to identify the genetically transformed animals. Gamma irradiation was used to integrate the transgenes into a chromosome so all progeny would stably inherit them. The progeny of 400 irradiated animals were screened and 11 lines appeared to carry integrated transgenes. These are being backcrossed with the wild-type to both remove any other gamma-induced mutations, and to confirm the integration. They will then be mated with long-lived mutation to determine if GFP expression is a predictor of longevity. (Supported by NIH Grant #XXXXXX)


The Poster board is tan and is 5' high and 5' wide. Your poster may be prepared to fill this space or a lesser space (e.g., 3.5' by 3.5'). Leave space in the upper left comer of the board for your poster number. This number will be provided for you and will be found in the published proceedings of the symposium. Prepare for the top of your poster space a title board indicating the title of the poster and the authors. Identify the person presenting the poster preferably by underlining or by indicating with an asterisk. The lettering for the title board should be not less than 1" high. A copy of your abstract in large type should be part of your poster.

Bear in mind that your illustrations will be viewed from distances of 3' or more. All lettering should be at least 3/8" high, preferably in bold font. Charts, drawings, and illustrations might well be similar to those used in making slides. Block lettering can be used to add emphasis and clarity. Captions should be brief and labels few and clear. It is helpful to viewers if the sequence to be followed in studying your material is indicated by numbers, letters, or arrows.

Your poster should be self-explanatory so that you are free to supplement and discuss particular points raised by inquiry. The poster session offers a more intimate forum for informal discussion than the slide presentation, but this becomes difficult if you are obliged to devote most of your time to merely explain your poster to a succession of visitors. You may find it useful to have on hand a tablet of sketch paper and suitable drawing materials, but please do not write on the plywood poster boards.

Congratulations to the Winners!

Undergraduate Oral Presentations:

First:       Kayla-Marie Jones (Animal Science)
Second: Kristoff McIntosh (Mechanical Engineering)
Third:     Kai Littlejohn (Chemical Engineering)

Undergraduate Poster Presentations:

First:      Rekia Salter (Biology)
Second: Jaleah Rutledge (Psychology)
Third:    Daenique Jengelley (Biology)

Graduate Oral Presentations:

First:      David Alexander (Mechanical Engineering)
Second: Shatori Meadows (Materials Science and Engineering)
Third:    Derwin Foreman (Animal Science)

Graduate Poster Presentations:

First:      Ericka Humphrey (Biology)
Second: Donald White (Material Science and Engineering)
Third:     Shatori Meadows (Materials Science and Engineering)


Program Agenda (Click here to Download PDF Version)

Friday – March 17, 2017

7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. JARS Registration Check-in.……...…................Auditorium, Tompkins Hall
                                    Sigma Xi table setup………………..……… .......... .…….....Dr. Maria Calhoun
                                                                                                                        President, Sigma Xi

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Opening Ceremony…………………….......….....… Auditorium, Tompkins Hall
                                    Welcome…………………………………………….....…….............…...Dr. Fan Wu
                                                                                                                          Interim Director
                                                             Tuskegee University Office of Undergraduate Research
                                    Opening Remarks…………..................................…Mr. Edward Brown
                                                                                                                               Chief of Staff
                                                                                                                    Tuskegee University

8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Professional Development Workshop…..……Auditorium, Tompkins Hall
                                                                                                            Dr. Richard Whittington
                                                                                                            Department of Biology
                                                                                                            Tuskegee University

9:30 a.m. – 9:40 a.m. JARS Judges Orientation………...…….Meeting Room B, Tompkins Hall
                                                                                                            Dr. Melissa Reeves
                                                                                                            Department of Chemistry
                                                                                                            Tuskegee University

9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Concurrent Grad. Oral Presentation Session 1……………….. Auditorium
                                                                                                                         Tompkins Hall
1. Conversion of Egg shell and Seashell Waste into a Valuable Nano biomaterial for Tissue Engineering
    Vincent Hembrick-Holloman, Material Science and Engineering.
2. A Study on the Effect of Halloysite Nanotubes on the Thermal, Durability and Biodegradability Performance of Poly-(hydroxy -butyrate-hydroxy-valerate)-PHBV Nano Bio-composites
    S. M. Hasan, Materials Science and Engineering.
3. An Efficient Acceleration of Solving Heat and Mass Transfer Equations with GPGPU
    Abdul Rafae Mohammed, Information System and Security Management.
4. Noise-field and Mixing Characteristics of a REM nozzle for Supersonic Applications
    David Alexander, Mechanical Engineering.

9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Concurrent Grad. Oral Presentation Session 2…............ Meeting Room A
                                                                                                                        Tompkins Hall
1. A New Single Phase 127-Level Multilevel Inverter for Distributed DC Sources
    Benozir Ahmed, Electrical Engineering.
2. Districuted Control of Voltage and Reactive Power with Renewable Energy Integration in a Power Grid using Game Theory
    Abdul-Sommed Hadi, Electrical Engineering.
3. Flexible Thin Film Supercapacitor
    Syed Ziauddin Ahmed, Electrical Engineering
4. A Cooperative Game Theory Based Distributed Method for Reactive Power Reserve Optimization and Load Bus Voltage Profile Improvement
    Md Arifin Arif, Electrical Engineering.

9:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Undergraduate Poster Session…..……....…...FEMA Room, Tompkins Hall

10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Coffee Break………........………...….............FEMA Room, Tompkins Hall

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Concurrent U.G. Oral Presentation Session 3…………….... Auditorium
                                                                                                                           Tompkins Hall
1. Trends in Morbidity and Mortality Among Agricultural Workers in Macon County, AL: 1928-2016
    Tianne Maultsby, Biology.
2. Preliminary screening analysis of Root Knot Nematode resistance in sweet potato
    Mel Groves, Environmental Science.
3. Isolation of Methanogenic/Lignocellulolytic Microorganisms for Biofuels Applications
    Kayla Marie Jones, Animal Sciences.
4. The Cuban Revolution
    Gustavo Cardona, Political Science.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Concurrent U.G. Oral Presentation Session 4……....... Meeting Room A
                                                                                                                            Tompkins Hall
1. Characterization of Self-healing Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites
    Kristoff McIntosh, Mechanical Engineering.
2. Adsorption of Aqueous Ammonium-Nitrogen
    Tierra Webster, Chemical Engineering.
3. Expression and Characterization of mKate-Fused MMP-8
    Kai Littlejohn, Chemical Engineering.

12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Lunch Reception with Guest Speaker…...........Ballroom, Tompkins Hall
                Epigenetic regulators that Promote Aggressiveness in African Americans with Cancer
                                                                                                      Dr. Clayton C. Yates, Professor
                                                                 Department of Biology and Center for Cancer Research
                                                                                                                       Tuskegee University

1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Concurrent Grad. Oral Presentation Session 5………….…….. Auditorium
                                                                                                                             Tompkins Hall
1. The Effects of the IBS-REU Program on Graduate School and Professional School Enrollment
    LaSha McArthur, Animal Science.
2. The Development and Assessment of a Livestock Reproductive Management Training Workshop for Veteran Farmers
    Carmen Holcombe, Animal Science.
3. The Effect of Diabetes Mellitus on Testicular Function in Mice
    Donunique Fine, Animal Science.
4. A Case Study: The Development of a Student Consultation Model to Support Limited Resource Farmers in Alabama
    Derwin Foreman, Animal Science.

1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Concurrent Grad. Oral Presentation Session 6…….......... Meeting Room A
                                                                                                                              Tompkins Hall
1. Quadruple Negative Breast Cancer is associated with a unique race-related immune signature
    Raymond Hughley, Biology.
2. Variation in the Health of Catfish in Association with Gulf Pollution
    Veronica Alston, Biology.
3. Androgen Deprivation Therapy Suppresses KISS1 Expression In Prostate Cancer Via Posttranslational regulation
    Ericka Humphrey, Biology.
4. Prevalence of Viral and Bacterial diseases and Parasites in Feral Swine of Macon County, Alabama
    Jonathan Owens, Animal and Poultry Sciences.

1:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Graduate Poster Session……………….......FEMA Room, Tompkins Hall

2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Coffee Break………………….……..….......FEMA Room, Tompkins Hall

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Concurrent Grad. Oral Presentation Session 7……………….. Auditorium
                                                                                                                                Tompkins Hall
1. Mechanical and Thermal Properties of Graphene and Nano clay Binary Reinforced Epoxy Nanocomposites
    Zaheruddin Mohammed, Material Science and Engineering.
2. Synthesis and Characterization of PEI-coated Copper Nanoparticles
    Aiesha Ethridge, Materials Science and Engineering.
3. Optimization and Control Studies on the Synthesis and Characterization of Epoxidized Soybean Oil
    Shatori Meadows, Materials Science and Engineering.
4. The Influence of Functionalization on the Biodegradability of Cellulose-Reinforced ABS and HIPS Plastics
    Chemar Huntley, Materials Science and Engineering.

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Concurrent Grad. Oral Presentation Session 8…….......... Meeting Room A
                                                                                                                                 Tompkins Hall
1. Impact of the Tuskegee Master Goat Production Certification Program
    Andreya Bryson, Animal Science.
2. Green synthesis of δ-Lactams through triacetic acid lactone as an intermediate
    Israt Jahan, Chemistry.
3. Targeting of LHRH-R and PSMA on Prostate Cancer Cells using Peptide-guided Iron Oxide Nanoparticles
    Abeer Behayan, Chemistry.
4. Influence of three-demensional cultured prostate cancer and stromal cells on drug response
    Dominique Gales, Integrative Biosciences.

4:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Closing Remarks……….…….…………………................…...….Dr. Sheena Harris
                                                  Tuskegee University Presidency Student Engagement Initiatives

List of Poster Sessions Participants:

9:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.   Undergraduate Poster Session…..………...FEMA Room, Tompkins Hall

U1)  Noise-field of a REM nozzle for Supersonic Applications

Kyran Caines, and Micheal Jones, Aerospace Science Engineering.

U2)  Experimental Mapping of Magnetic Fields of CubeSat Attitude Actuator Representations

Karen Yamrick, Aerospace Science Engineering.

U3)  Analysis of Asthma Attack Rates Associated with Ozone Levels in Georgia  

Michael Keith II, Animal Science.

U4)  The transgenerational effects of prenatal BPA Exposure on gonadal development and behavior

Rekia Salter, Animal Science.

U5)  Increasing Prevalence of T. cruzi Vectors in the United States: The Effect of Climate Change.

Linque Martin, Animal Science.

U6)  In Vitro Activity of Propyl gallate, Tannic Acid and Hydroquinone alone and in Combination against Toxoplasma gondii

Samantha Cheron, Biology.

U7)  Participation of Intestinal Stem Cells in Colitis Recovery

Ebony Hargrove-Wiley, Biology.

  U8) Treatment-Related Changes in Gene Expression in Scleroderma-Associated Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Destiny Miller, Biology.

  U9) Pro-Inflammatory Stress Leads to Down-Regulation of Stromal Interaction

         Molecule 1 and Altered Store-Operated Ca2+ Entry in the Pancreatic β cell

Daenique Jengelley, Biology.

U10) In Vitro Interaction of Propyl gallate, 8-hydroxyquinoline, and 4-hydroxyquinoline  

         alone and in combination against Toxoplasma gondii RH Strain

Devin Levy, Biology.

U11) The Effects of Ischemic Stroke on Cardiac Inflammation in Normotensive Rats    

         Kinnon Ward, Biology.

U12) Herpes Simplex Virus1 and Angiotensin Converting Enzyme1 Inhibition: A Novel Strategy    

         Kennedy Harris, Biology.

U13) Targeting DNA Methylation at Bdnf exon IV using a CRISPR

Alexis Pulliam, Chemical Engineering.

U14) Synthesis of porous carbon from waste peanut shell using a pyrolysis at extreme conditions

Alayna Huckleby, Chemical Engineering.

U15) Experimental Methodology of C-amination at the C-4 position of Triacetic Acid Lactone

Megan Taylor, Chemistry.

U16) Evaluation of the Eco toxicity of Perfluorooctanoic Acid and related molecules

Debbynie Barsh, Chemistry.

U17) Biosynthesis of Novel Monomers

Sam Merlus, Chemistry/Chemical Engineering.

U18) Improving student engagement in freshman engineering graphics using Student

         Assistant for Visualization in Engineering (SAVE)

Erin Johnson, Mechanical Engineering.

U19) Optimization of Mechanical, Fire Retardant, and Thermal Stability of Biofiber

         Composites for Transportation Applications

Jasmsine Tanthongsack, Mechanical Engineering.

U20) Investigation of Thermal and Mechanical Properties of Wood Flour Reinforced

         Polyurethane Composites for Automotive Applications

Richard Harry, Mechanical Engineering.

U21) Fending for Yourself: A Bioethics Education Program in the Protection of Human Subjects for Vulnerable Populations in the Alabama Black Belt Countiesn

Moeshia Salter, Biology.

U22) Use of Electrochemical Impendence Spectroscopy for Lithium Ion Batteries

Kumasi Salimu, Physics.

U23) Understanding the Psychosocial Factors that Influence Undergraduate Student      

         Retention at Tuskegee University

Jaleah Rutledge, Psychology.

U24) Uninformed Informed Consent. Is the Black-Belt Still Vulnerable to Research Exploitation? 

Chenelle Harkless, Psychology.

U25) Potential Anti EGFR Therapeutic Strategy for Aggressive TNBC

Kirsten Cottingham, Biology.

U26) Numerical Simulation of Supersonic Flow over Cavity using Computational Fluid Dynamics

Joshua Gaston, and Alexis Davis, Aerospace Science Engineering.


1:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.   Graduate Poster Session……………….......FEMA Room, Tompkins Hall

G1)  Challenges of Stocking Sheep in Grazing Plots with Dormant Browse Species 

Sanjok Poudel, Animal and Poultry Science.

G2)  The Kissing Bug Comes to Tuskegee: An Analysis of T. cruzi Epidemiology 

Travis Burrell, Biology.

G3)  Micro- and nano-scale texturing of elastomers using templates from nature 

Steven Gaillard, Electrical Engineering.

G4)  Androgen Deprivation Therapy Suppresses KISS1 Expression In Prostate Cancer Via Epigenetic Silencing 

Ericka Humphrey, Bology.

G5)  Voltammetric and Spectrometric Studies of Flavonoid Complexes with Cu(II) : Electrochemistry of Quercetin and Cu (II) Interaction 

Christina Young, Material Science and Engineering.

G6)  Influence of Nanoparticles on Properties of Forcespunned PLA Fibers 

Alandria Allen, Material Science and Engineering.

G7)  Highly Porous Carbon Nanoparticles from Recycled Waste Papers for Water Filtration applications 

Manik Chandra Biswas, Material Science and Engineering.

G8)  Studies on the Processing Parameters for the Synthesis and Characterization of Epoxidized Soybean Oil (ESO) using Formic Acid 

Shatori Meadows, Material Science and Engineering.

G9)  Effects of Alkaline Lignin on Low Velocity Impacts Properties of Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites 

Tobias Donnell, Material Science and Engineering.

G10)  Optimization and Modification of Halloysite Nanotubes (HNT): Enhancement of Thermal, Mechanical, Fire Retardancy, and Biodegradability properties of PHBV/HNTs nanocomposites 

S. M. Hasan, Material Science and Engineering..

G11)  A facile method dispersing CNF's via vs1 with in a polymer matrix  

Donald White, Material Science and Engineering.



JARS Organizing Committee: 

Dr. Deloris Alexander
Dr. Asif Baba
Dr. Jay Bhuyan
Dr. Maria Calhoun
Dr. Sheena Harris
Dr. Melissa Reeves
Dr. Olga Bolden-Tiller
Dr. Richard Whittington
Dr. Fan Wu